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Varysblackfyre321

Has westeros progressed?

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Like, I'm given the impression that it has been very stagnant in developing culturally or technologically for quite a while now. What do you think?

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1 hour ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Like, I'm given the impression that it has been very stagnant in developing culturally or technologically for quite a while now. What do you think?

Tyrion might be the exception.

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49 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

I get the impression it hasn't.

I wonder if the Targs built anything for the common good other than the Kingsroad during their 300 years of reigning.

I mean in fairness they did introduce common law throughout the kingdoms (with the exception of Dorne) and set up a common currency throughout the same kingdoms.

But besides that, the Kingsroad, Kings Landing and Summerhall no the Targ's didn't really build anything. What they did during peacetime was usually either reforming previous laws and establishments or just overseeing the running of the realm while keeping everything the same. The one exception that I can think of was Egg (or Aegon V) who genuinely tried to make life better for the smallfolk only to have all his work undone after his death.

So no, Westeros hasn't really developed much in 8000 years. In fairness though, it's kind of hard to develop a more advanced infrastructure than what we've seen when every half a decade a half decade long winter will arrive and drastically cull the population and heavily set back any potential change. So most of the time people aren't 'wasting time' trying to develop better forms of farming, or government or taxation or any other real world developments that moved us out of the medieval period, because they're too busy trying to prepare themselves for the harsh winter they know is coming.

Magic and dragons and such probably didn't help at all either.

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39 minutes ago, Adam Yozza said:

I mean in fairness they did introduce common law throughout the kingdoms (with the exception of Dorne) and set up a common currency throughout the same kingdoms.

But besides that, the Kingsroad, Kings Landing and Summerhall no the Targ's didn't really build anything. What they did during peacetime was usually either reforming previous laws and establishments or just overseeing the running of the realm while keeping everything the same. The one exception that I can think of was Egg (or Aegon V) who genuinely tried to make life better for the smallfolk only to have all his work undone after his death.

So no, Westeros hasn't really developed much in 8000 years. In fairness though, it's kind of hard to develop a more advanced infrastructure than what we've seen when every half a decade a half decade long winter will arrive and drastically cull the population and heavily set back any potential change. So most of the time people aren't 'wasting time' trying to develop better forms of farming, or government or taxation or any other real world developments that moved us out of the medieval period, because they're too busy trying to prepare themselves for the harsh winter they know is coming.

Magic and dragons and such probably didn't help at all either.

I guess you're right about King's Landing, yes, they built the city. 

Summerhall though, they built it for themselves. And now it's gone.

Agree on the rest. Very little development, for one reason or another.

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1 hour ago, The Sunland Lord said:

I guess you're right about King's Landing, yes, they built the city. 

Summerhall though, they built it for themselves. And now it's gone.

Agree on the rest. Very little development, for one reason or another.

I'm yeah they built it for themselves and its destroyed now, but they did still build it. And if IIRC then it was meant to be rather impressive, was it not?

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I think that if anything they've probably gone backwards. Global cataclysms can do that. I imagine the Valyrian freehold at it's peak was way more advanced than Westeros. But we know the Westerossi could build Storms End, Harrenhal, The wall etc. 

I suspect that the ebb and flow of magic over time has kept them constantly vacillating between dark ages and magical eras that take place over thousands of years. Perpetuating the constant struggle.   

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From SSM: http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1071

Quote

 

Reader: There is an aspect of a SOI&F (and all high/medieval fanatasy) which has me puzzled. Why is there so little technological procees? The Starks have been medieval lords and kings for millenia, and it seems that there is very little chance of Westeros ever progessing beyond a medieval society. Is this becuase the existence of magic inhibits or precludes linear technological progress?

GRRM: Oh, I wouldn't go that far.

I don't know that "linear technological progress" is necessarily inevitable in a society. In fact, if you look at our real world, it only happened once. Other cultures and societies existed for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years without ever experiencing major technological change.

In the specific case of Westeros, the unpredictable nature of the seasonal changes and the harshness of the winters must play a role.

I do think that magic perhaps makes development of the scientific method less likely. If men can fly by means of a spell, do you ever get the Wright Brothers? Or even daVinci? An interesting question, and I'm not sure I know the answer.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Adam Yozza said:

I'm yeah they built it for themselves and its destroyed now, but they did still build it. And if IIRC then it was meant to be rather impressive, was it not?

People can build impressive houses today, but no one can add that it is good for the whole society. It's good for the people living in there.

People built things without the Targs. Harren built Harrenhal (castle which Aegon burned when he attacked the continent) but no one in the Riverlands liked or missed Harren, nor did they care about Harrenhal.

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1 hour ago, The Sunland Lord said:

People can build impressive houses today, but no one can add that it is good for the whole society. It's good for the people living in there.

People built things without the Targs. Harren built Harrenhal (castle which Aegon burned when he attacked the continent) but no one in the Riverlands liked or missed Harren, nor did they care about Harrenhal.

Didn't say it was good for the realm, just that it was something they built that was impressive. Also, the meaning behind Summerhall is extremely important since it was built as a monument for the day Daeron peacefully brought Dorne into the realm.

And while no one in the Riverlands cared about Harren and his family burning, to say no one cares about Harrenhal is just wrong. The Riverlords at the time wanted nothing to do with it because it was basically a physical representation of everything they'd endured under Harren. But subsequent generations were more than interested even 300 years later. People literally scramble to get their hands on Harrenhal, whether for the power or the prestige of the title and it's generally considered a crucial strategic location.

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14 hours ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Like, I'm given the impression that it has been very stagnant in developing culturally or technologically for quite a while now. What do you think?

The Conquest was progress.  The land was United.  The Targaryens ended the horrific practices of the First Night and perhaps stopped the North from continuing blood sacrifices to the trees.  The Ironborn were beaten down and kept down, which is good.  The faith was humbled.  The capital city was built.

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1 hour ago, Adam Yozza said:

And while no one in the Riverlands cared about Harren and his family burning, to say no one cares about Harrenhal is just wrong. The Riverlords at the time wanted nothing to do with it because it was basically a physical representation of everything they'd endured under Harren. But subsequent generations were more than interested even 300 years later. People literally scramble to get their hands on Harrenhal, whether for the power or the prestige of the title and it's generally considered a crucial strategic location.

I agree. What I meant though, was that no one cared about the burned Harrenhal or felt as if like some tragedy happened there, nor does anyone gives credit to the Ironborn for their rule in the Riverlands at the time, only because they built it.

New generations fight for it, yes, and I do recognize its worth from that viewpoint. 

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35 minutes ago, The Sunland Lord said:

I agree. What I meant though, was that no one cared about the burned Harrenhal or felt as if like some tragedy happened there, nor does anyone gives credit to the Ironborn for their rule in the Riverlands at the time, only because they built it.

New generations fight for it, yes, and I do recognize its worth from that viewpoint. 

Ah just a misunderstanding of what you meant then.

In that case I'd say no one gives credit to the Ironborn for ruling the Riverlands at that time for two reasons; 1) only three Ironborn Kings ever ruled the Riverlands; 2) Those three Ironborn Kings did nothing but cause misery for the Riverlands. Other ruling houses of the Riverlands get far more credit and respect even if they never advanced society in any meaningful way; for example, Justman and Mudd, to name the most prominent.

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No. Progress on Westeros is decidedly not a theme of the series, which is why the idea that it is all going to end with a new form of government is meritless.

The series is an exploration of a medieval society. How it works, when it works well, when it works poorly, what it is good at, what it is bad at, the costs and sacrifices, the toll it asks for it to function as best it can. Westeros in the series exists within this frame, it is not about transition outside of that frame.

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6 hours ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The Conquest was progress.  The land was United.  The Targaryens ended the horrific practices of the First Night and perhaps stopped the North from continuing blood sacrifices to the trees.  The Ironborn were beaten down and kept down, which is good.  The faith was humbled.  The capital city was built.

"United" Westeros has experienced a massive surge in size (Lannister/Gardener "biggest" host would hardly count as such in Targaryens' Westeros) and scope (for pre-Targaryen Westeros, wars involving most of the Kingdoms were almost unheard of in thousands of years of recorded history, Targaryens made it a regular occurrence in their brief 300-year tenure) of warfare with all the devastation that entails. First Night continues on because there is no bureaucracy to actually control what the Lords are cooking. The Ironborn rise again and again, harder and stronger, and their evil is hardly the greatest in Westeros, effortlessly replaced by the malice and brutality of mainland Houses. The Faith was cast down, leaving nobility with no checks to their power - and now that very nobility drove Westeros in utter ruin, the Faith is the party that tries to actually alleviate the suffering of the people. The actual builders of the capital were slaughtered like pigs for mad ambitions of a tyrant - and the capital serves as a focal point of  devastating struggles to dominate Westeros, struggles that could be barely won with dragons and are utterly futile without them.

It's all a cultural development of sorts, but I would hesitate to call it progress.

Edited by Myrish Lace

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22 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Tyrion might be the exception.

Eh he's extremely educated for his society true but I'd put my money Qyburn if anyone

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On 1/25/2018 at 2:14 AM, Varysblackfyre321 said:

Like, I'm given the impression that it has been very stagnant in developing culturally or technologically for quite a while now. What do you think?

Same here. We see very few really new ideas arise within Westeros itself. Most cultural and technological innovations have come, one way or another, from Essos.

The First Men brought metalworking (bronze), agriculture, and horses, but assimilated into the indigenous religion of the Elder Races.

The Andals brought iron, shipbuilding, the Faith of the Seven, 'chivalry'

The Rhoynar brought mostly ideas (equal inheritance for women etc)

The Targaryens brought dragons and a centralised state

 

I think the big tell on 'progress' is seen with the Maesters - their purpose seems to be preserving knowledge rather than advancing it. Faced with a new situation, I get the impression that the Maesters' first response is to go seeking out the oldest books they can find on the subject, rather than putting forward new ideas. Those who do try to venture into new areas (such as Qyburn, and maybe Marwyn) get stomped on. Preservation of knowledge is usually cast in a good light, by preventing it being lost, but it can also prevent it being improved.

The Faith of the Seven tends to bolster the power of ruling elites and console the smallfolk into accepting their lot. The High Sparrow is an exception here, but I'm not sure you'd call that progress as such...

Everyone who is anyone is focused so intently on climbing the pyramid which is topped by the Iron Throne that no-one thinks to try altering the shape of the pyramid itself.

Those three forces - Maesters, Faith and feudalism - all conspire to prevent change. Change is not impossible, but it is certainly going to be very, very difficult.

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On 1/25/2018 at 0:13 PM, Lord Lannister said:

Honestly I wonder if everything is as many "thousands of years" old as it's claimed.

Agreed, that claim has seemed suspect from the start for me given how poor record keeping appears to be. The various interregnum theories (that Planetos as a whole is an old society that suffered a cataclysm setting its technology/mentality back) are fairly consistent with Martin’s other works.

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7 hours ago, The Mountain That Flies said:

Agreed, that claim has seemed suspect from the start for me given how poor record keeping appears to be. The various interregnum theories (that Planetos as a whole is an old society that suffered a cataclysm setting its technology/mentality back) are fairly consistent with Martin’s other works.

But wouldn't the poor record keeping be explained partly because over the course of thousands of years it'd be hard exactly to catalog all the new information being created every year? 

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